“...but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, .” Philippians 3: 14 NLT
” What are your thoughts as you look back over the last year? loss, tragedy, sorrow or happiness, joy, success, etc? …do you close the book on this year with regret, or with relief?
“No matter what your answer is, I hope you will pause and prayerfully ask yourself two important questions: First, how do you think God looks on this past year in your life? Did it bring you any closer to Him? Second, what lessons will you take from this year into next? What did God teach you?
“Don’t be bound by the past and its failures? But don’t forget is lessons either.” – by Billy Graham, “Wisdom for Each Day”
Happy New Year! New year, new blessings!
“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. ” Isaiah 43:18 -19
“The key of the house of David I will lay on his shoulder; So he shall open, and no one shall shut; ” Isaiah 22:22
Someday Jesus will come back again, not as a Baby, but as the King of kings!
“Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. 12 His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He [e]had a name written that no one knew except Himself. 13 He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. 14 And the armies in heaven, clothed in [f]fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. 15 Now out of His mouth goes a [g]sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. 16 And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written:
KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.” – Revelation 19: 11-16
And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was just and devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. ” V. 25
Luke 2 :25
Reading: Luke 2:21-35
Baby Jesus was born in Bethlehem (Luke 2:1-7). Joseph and Mary were his earthly parents. The angels of God continued to guide and watch over the family. The angels also made an announcement to the shepherds in Bethlehem. (v.11) The shepherds followed the words spoken to them by the angels, they went and visited Baby Jesus who was with his parents, Joseph and Mary. (v.15-16). When the shepherds saw Baby Jesus with their own eyes, they rejoiced, went out, and spread the good news to their community. (v.17-18).
After 8 days, Baby Jesus was presented to the temple in Jerusalem to follow the custom and traditions. “They brought Him to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord (as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every male who opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”), Luke 2:22-24.
While in the temple, there was a man named Simeon. He was a devout and righteous man according to their Law. Basically, he followed all the commandments written in the Law of Moses. Maybe not just obeying the rules and traditions, Simeon was considered devout and righteous, as he also believed and worshipped the Lord God from his heart.
Perhaps for many years, Simeon, prayed for the coming Messiah or Savior as told in their Scriptures. It says, he eagerly waited for the salvation of God (Jewish Bible). Not just believing or having faith, but he had hope. He also had anticipation and an expectant heart for the fulfillment of God’s words.
Simeon remembered that the Lord God was faithful in keeping His words. As God spoke to Abraham, Jacob, David, and other men of God, He fulfilled His words. So, Simeon had faith, hope, and an expectant heart to wait for God to fulfill His words.
During a period of challenges, perhaps one of the most difficult times in the history of Israel because of Roman rule, Simeon kept his faith. He had hope that one day Messiah will come. Some may have lost their faith and hope as some went their own way. Others became tax collectors and some were involved in prostitution, perhaps just to survive. Others focused on keeping the tradition, following rules and regulations like the religious leaders. Simeon like the others, (Zacharias, Elizabeth, Mary, and Joseph) kept his eyes on the Lord God and His promises. Simeon kept his devotion and pursued righteousness even in the hardest of times. Simeon was filled by the Holy Spirit.
Not just a general promise in the Scriptures, Simeon had a personal promise revealed by the Holy Spirit. “And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.” (v.26)
So, when Baby Jesus and his parents came to the temple for the baby dedication, Simeon knew right away, that Baby was the One! Through the power of the Holy Spirit, Simeon knew without a doubt that Baby Jesus was the fulfillment of God’s promise to them, the people of Israel.
For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.“
Isaiah 9: 6
Thus, Simeon gave praise, thanksgiving, and adoration to the Lord God. (v. 29-32)
The Holy Bible is filled with the promises of God for Israel and for the followers of Jesus. The Lord God is faithful, Sovereign and has the power to fulfill them as He already did to the people of Israel- to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David, etc. As followers of Jesus, and through the power of the Holy Spirit, the words of God in the Bible also speak to us personally. God gives us personal promises too. Like Simeon, who was faithful, full of faith, and full of hope, he waited eagerly for God to fulfill His Words to Israel and to him personally.
For my eyes have seen Your salvation
Which You have prepared before the face of all peoples,
A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles,
And the glory of Your people Israel
Luke 2: 30-32
The Bible says we are made righteous because of Jesus. We can be faithful and be filled with hope and have expectant hearts through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Questions for reflection:
1. Are you faithful in your devotion to Jesus?
2. Do you have an expectant heart to wait for the promise of Jesus that He will come again?
3. Are you eager to wait upon His promises.
4. Do you have personal promises from God that you are still waiting for His fulfillment?
Prayer: Holy Spirit please help me to be faithful, and hopeful, and to wait eagerly upon the promises of God. Lord Jesus may You come soon!